Friday, May 10, 2013

If Tony Stark were real I think he would look a lot like Richard Branson

One week ago, Iron Man 3 came out and sucked up all the money in the world (or at least a good portion of it). Despite some of the misgivings I had regarding the poorly done adaptation of the Mandarin from comic book to film, I did leave the theater once again in awe of the absolute wealth wielded by Tony Stark. For example, I loved his Malibu home. It's incredible and decorated exactly how I like: bold, new, and contemporary. I love his fast cars, snarky "screw it, let's do it" attitude, and I admire the way he could have all of his toys completely destroyed and it doesn't stress him out one bit. Seriously. It's because he's got so much money, he could care less. That in itself is just awesome. When a person reaches that level of success, they literally have "F U Money," a term I coined to describe the fact that you are "beholdin'" to no one in the world.
I can't even imagine being able to say these lines (but it would be cool if I could): "Eh? My $100 million dollar house got blown up? Dangit. Pepper get another one built while I go on vacation to Catalina. And schedule me a massage, and buy me a new fleet of cars. Those other ones were the wrong color anyway."

So I started to think? Is this at all realistic? Are there real life men out there that wield this kind of wealth and power? Yep. The first person that comes to mind is Richard Branson of Virgin Group fame.
Richard is British, so that automatically puts him in the group of men on which James Bond may be modeled, and he's got a brand that's both sounds sexy and simultaneously houses more than 250 companies. Under the Virgin umbrella you'll find travel, publishing, mobile phone service, wine vineyards, health clubs, etc. He owns the world's first commercial spacecraft under Virgin Galactic giving ordinary people like you and me the opportunity to see space for a mere $200,000 a ticket. He owns his own island, offers millions of dollars in prize money to "green" projects that have to do with removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and has plans to travel to the deepest points of all five oceans via Virgin Oceanic.

So yea, I think if Tony Stark were real he would look a lot like Richard Branson. It also begs the question (because I'm a writer), when you write about a larger than life character, do you model it after someone in real life?

Did I make my case? Agree? Disagree? Leave your opinions in the comments and have a great weekend :)

31 comments:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Totally agree with you Mike. Tony Stark is Richard Branson's fictional twin in a lot of ways. Who doesn't believe Richard wouldn't make the Iron Man armor if he could.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They have similarities. Still wouldn't want to see my beach house destroyed, but just because that's wasteful.

M.L. Swift said...

Great post, Michael! I never thought of the similarities between the two, but I think they are one and the same person.

And yeah...the rich can get away with anything.

M.L. Swift, Writer

Brinda said...

You always make me laugh. Those pictures crack me up.

I haven't seen Iron Man 3. It's one I'd like to see in the theater as opposed to the rentals I usually do.

Em-Musing said...

Si, you made your case. And you're the second blog to feature naked men. Phew! Thanks for the visuals.

Cate Masters said...

I'm not sure I'd want that much money, to negate any sentimental value of what I own.
Still looking forward to seeing Iron Man 3, though. :)

PT Dilloway, Grumpy Bulldog said...

Richard Branson is the Most Interesting Man in the World...but does he drink Dos Equis?

mshatch said...

I've been hearing about Richard Branson lately in relation to Virgin Galactic - $200,000 is a lot of mula for a space ride!

Lexa Cain said...

I like Tony Stark. He gets bad guys. Richard Branson acts like a 12-yr-old. He gets laid. They're not in the same category as far as I'm concerned.
I really liked the pictorial though! That was great! :-)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Good point Lexa,


It's true... with that kind of wealth, you don't have to act your age and anything goes....

I would hope if I had that kind of money, I would do humanity some good. Look at JK Rowling... always helping others with all her charities.... Good for her! Those are some footsteps I'd like to follow.

Anyway... FUN pics and definitely good for a laugh.

Thanks Michael for the very nice comment you left at my blog the other day. Meant a lot...

Rachna Chhabria said...

Richard Branson is pretty interesting specimen...the things he does are simply crazy.

Mark Means said...

I've never thought of it before, but yeah...I can see Branson as a 'Tony Stark' type.

Oh yeah, also with you on the portrayal of The Mandarin though, I have to admit, I liked the "explanation" in the film more than the "character" of the Mandarin. (If that makes sense...I'm trying to stay spoiler free :) )

mooderino said...

As a Brit I don't see Branson as quite the stylish playboy you maybe do. He's rather annoying and fails a lot in his pointless exploits. Certainly not a scientist either. I think the Dyson guy was more of an inventor in the Stark mould.

mood

Julie Flanders said...

I think you made your case even though I think Branson is kind of gross. The cracked.com stuff made me laugh. :D

Stephen Hayes said...

It would be nice to buy an overpriced Jackson Pollack just to put into storage.

Matthew MacNish said...

His wealth is pretty impressive. We're seeing Iron Man tonight.

Liz said...

Interesting comparison. I haven't given either the man or the character much thought. I can see the similarities, but one is not the other. Otherwise, we would have heard endlessly about it.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I think you're right, Michael. I also agree that money buys a lot of confidence and stress-free living. People are people, sure. But rich people don't think like the rest of us. LOL. Yes, I'd like a day as filthy rich lady.

M Pax said...

I agree, and I loved your list of what a rich dude can get away with and the rest of us can't.

DEZMOND said...

remember that one time when Kate Winslet saved Branson's 100 year old mom from the fire at his island?

Briane P said...

Cracked had an interesting post on how every single decision Tony Stark makes is completely illegal, and/or insane. Nice spin.

I don't know much about Richard Branson, which is weird because my radar for guys who spend obscenely is pretty finely-tuned, and yet I've got no real dislike for him, so I must never have heard something ultra-terrible about him.

But my stance on the superrich is that we should take their money once they reach a certain level of money, which makes me unpopular with everyone who doesn't think about why that makes sense.

(I explained it better, and at more length, here:

http://www.thinkingthelions.com/2010/03/i-am-perfectly-free-to-tell-you-how.html

)But I suppose I shouldn't turn a comment into a soapbox. So I'll try to stick to the point, and discuss whether Richard Branson is Tony Stark.

NO.

Branson uses his money for personal gain, as far as I can see. Stark, after his heart problem or whatever, used his money to improve the world by creating War Machine and also building all the Iron Men. He turned over control of Stark Industries to someone else and devoted it to peacetime. Sure, he was still superrich and could afford to have an entire house slide into the ocean without worrying about it, but he was using his money for more than just his own personal gain.

I think if there is a real Iron Man in this world (don't laugh) it's Bill Gates. He married Melinda who used to work for his company, and put her in charge of the big charity thing he's running, he's promising to donate almost all his money, and at one point his charity was investigating using tiny lasers to zap the wings off mosquitos to help end malaria. If we COULD build Iron Men, Bill Gates would do it, and he would donate them to charity, and then we would all have to put up with "Iron Man Vista" updates that we would hate at first.

Helena said...

Little known fact: Richard Branson is dyslexic, and he claims being so helped him at an early age to think outside the box.

But I agree with Brian P above. Branson is definitely larger than life and does some good, but Bill and Melinda Gates are doing far more and being more aggressive about changing the world for the better. My own impression is that it's Melinda who's the driving force behind their foundation, and it's no coincidence that Bill became less the business geek and more the philanthropist after he married her.

But oh yes, I'd love to have enough money that I'd never have to worry about it again. If my car dies, I simply replace it. Don't need a fleet or mansions. Just security.

Joyce Lansky said...

Yep. That would be something.

http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have to laugh at Tony Stark and of course, all my sons want to be Tony Stark.

tfwalsh said...

There are similarities, but I like Tony Stark better than Richard:) Plus, he's Iron Man...:)

Elise Fallson said...

Dude! I'm writing a post right now about Virgin Atlantic Airways and was going to mention Richard Branson!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michael .. Iron Man - I guess I need to see it - I had to look up Tony Stark! Oh well can't account for us all ..

Branson has always worked out of the box .. he's totally unconformist .. but very successful - as you say .. and Virgin is a great brand name. Hadn't realised he'd marketed himself quite so much .. but he does without the nudity bit here (the bit that I see!) .. ie not the bit ... but the scenes?!)

Cheers Hilary

M said...

I only fly Virgin Airlines. Seriously, no other airline comes close.

Of course, if Tony Stark had an airline, I'd fly that.

~MPL
http://pepperwords.com

Kristen Dyrr said...

This is hilarious! I do agree, and especially love those images. LOL! I'm still laughing (on the inside, because there are other people here).

Cally Jackson said...

You had me convinced - until I read Briane's comment. Now I'm torn. I think Tony Stark and Branson have the same X Factor, but Gates is closer in terms of philanthropy. Interesting topic!

Cally Jackson said...

You had me convinced - until I read Briane's comment. Now I'm torn. I think Tony Stark and Branson have the same X Factor, but Gates is closer in terms of philanthropy. Interesting topic!